CONCORDE IN BARBADOS
A retired British Airways’ Concorde, the Anglo-
British Airways announced in April, 2003 that it would take all its seven Concordes out of service and retire each of them to separate locations in Britain, the United States and Barbados. Although they were capable of a top speed of 2170kph, and carried celebrities and business high-
The Concorde now in Barbados made its maiden flight on 17th March 1977, flew 23,376 hrs, made 8,383 landings, its last being on Nov 17th 2003.
Barbados was chosen after BA took into consideration several criteria including the host country’s ability to properly exhibit and preserve the aircraft, geographical location and accessibility to the public.
Barbados had for long proudly regarded itself as "Little England." That approach has gradually changed over the years. However, there are still many evidences of the orientation of Barbados toward England.
The heart of the capital, Bridgetown, was until recently known as Trafalgar Square, and was dominated by a statue of Lord Horatio Nelson. Its parliament building is decorated by stained glass windows depicting British monarchs from King James I to Queen Victoria. On the island you can find places called Worthing, Hastings, Clapham and Highgate. Some people still eat Yorkshire pudding and drink high tea there.
No wonder. Barbados remained a British colony for 350 unbroken years, starting 1627 -
It has been reported that Grantley Adams, the leader of the Barbados Labour Party at that time, sent a telegram to England's King George VI during World War II: ‘Go on, England, Little England is behind you.’
Crop Over (also Cropover or Crop-
A number of elements come together in Crop Over: Calypso, tuk, ring bang and steel pan, landship and stilt walkers. Add friendly people, color, and good weather and you’ve got what has been called “more than a carnival, sweet fuh days.”
This folk tradition had its beginnings in the 1787 when Barbados was a large sugar producer. Every year, plantation managers would organize a one-
The festival begins with the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes. In this ceremony, the harvest is officially pronounced closed and the King and Queen of the Festival -
At the Cohobblopot, costume bands show off their dazzling and elaborate costumes, to the sounds of the latest local calypso hits, while competing for prizes and the titles of King and Queen of the Festival. The most popular calypsonians and bands also perform to packed audiences. ( Cohobblopot, also known as pepperpot, is a spicy meat and okra Barbadian stew).
Calypsonians are organized into "tents" sponsored by Barbados businesses. The calpysonians, comedians and other entertainers showcase the latest compositions, which may be simply party hits but may include commentary on current local and regional happenings.
Calypsonians compete for several prizes and titles, including the Party Monarch, the Road March Monarch and the Pic-
There are also folk concerts and art and photographic exhibitions. There is also the Saturday and Sunday Bridgetown Market -
Kadooment Day is the last day and grand climax of the festival. Large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes to depict various themes are on parade. The judges watch them go by to calypso music and make their decisions.
The 'burning of Mr Harding' used to be the final act at the end of Kadooment Day but it was discontinued in the nineties. The towering “Mr Harding,” a 20-
Conkies are cakes of sweet (sometimes savory) blends of cornmeal, pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut, raisins and spices, steamed in pieces of banana leaf. The conkie is sometimes called “dunkanoo” or “duckanoo” or "dokunu."
Conkies are also popular in Guyana.
On November 3, 1751 George Washington (later to become President of the United States) and his brother Lawrence arrived in Barbados from their family home in Virginia. They stayed for seven weeks in a house they rented from a British army officer, Captain Croftan, then Commander of James Fort. It was Washington's first and only visit outside the United States. For Washington, then 19 years old, Bridgetown was a large city, the largest he had seen so far.
George's older half-
The house in which George Washington stayed is now vested in the National Trust of Barbados and is now called the George Washington House. A two-
Diving to observe underwater shipwrecks and the creatures that live in or near the wrecks is growing in popularity; and Barbados offers many exciting opportunities. Carlisle Bay is one site regarded as an ideal dive location. Among the numerous wrecks there, divers can look for tropical fish, eels, frog fish, seahorses and other sea creatures. The SS Stavronikita, a 365-
THE STREET THAT NEVER SLEEPS
That’s how some people refer to Baxter’s Road in Bridgetown. At any hour of day or night it is possible to get something to eat there. All the Barbadian delicacies are available on Baxter's Road, a lot of it from streetside vendors: fried fish, pudding, souse, peas and rice, jug-
In Barbados, Remembrance Day is observed with the holding of an inter-
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS (PARISHES) OF BARBADOS
There are eleven: Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
On Saturday September 23rd, 2000, Obadele Thompson created history for his country by winning an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Men's 100 Metre Final at the 27th Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. In that race United States' Maurice Greene of the United States and Ato Bolden of Trinidad's took Gold and Silver respectively. The official winning times were 9.87 seconds for Maurice Greene, 9.99 seconds for Ato Bolden and 10.04 for the 24 year old Oba. He was the first ever Barbadian to win an Olympic Medal.
Obadele (the name means "the king comes home") landed in Barbados on Thursday October 5th to a hero's welcome and reception. Thousands lined the streets from Grantley Adams International Airport to Government Headquarters on Bay Street. The Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government of Barbados, conferred on him the title of ‘Ambassador and special envoy to the youth of Barbados’ making him the country’s youngest diplomat.
He also received from Barbados business organisations a silver sports BMW convertible, a $50,000 life insurance policy, $20,000 worth of free travel, accommodation at one of the country’s leading resorts and a plot of land in the prestigious new housing development -
The main ingredients of cou-
Of the 17 species of sea urchin (Echinoidea) found in the coastal waters of Barbados, the white sea-
There are also black sea eggs. These have long spikes which become embedded in your skin if you step on them, in which case you would have a case of painful "sea egg prickles." Many "cures" are suggested for sea egg prickles, including melted candle grease and lime juice. The result is that black sea-
Tuk music, taken to Barbados by slaves in the 1600s, is heard today in the Landship Movement and the Crop Over festival. The musical instruments in a tuk band are a tin flute, a kettle drum and a bass drum. Listening to tuk music, one can hear African and even North American elements today. Tourists find it quite fascinating. Tuk music was legally prohibited by the English colonists of Barbados and so did not come into its own until after emancipation. "Tuk" is believed to be derived from the Scottish word "Touk" which meant to beat or sound an instrument.
Barbados now has a National Heroes Square. Known before April 28, 1999 as Trafalgar Square, it is located opposite the Parliament Buildings. Since March 22, 1813 The Lord Nelson Statue, sculpted by Sir Richard Westmacott, dominated the area. It predated by 36 years the statue and square of the same name in London.
The change did not come abruptly, but after much deliberation and debate. First the Nelson statue was turned through 180° so that he no longer looked down Broad Street, the main shopping area. Now he is to be removed entirely when a suitable location is found. One report aptly said that Nelson lost the Battle of Trafalgar Square. The square now celebrates 10 official national heroes.
The law which established the name and uses of the square is the National Heroes Act.
In April 1998, the Order of National Heroes Act was passed in the Barbados Parliament. National Heroes Day was celebrated on April 28, the centenary of the birth of Sir Grantley Adams. The National Heroes, each bearing the title the Right Excellent, are:
Bussa (Born in Africa. Killed in a battle for freedom in Barbados in 1816)
Sarah Ann Gill (1795-
Samuel Jackman Prescod (1806-
Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal (1879-
Clement Osbourne Payne (1904-
Sir Grantley Herbert Adams (1898-
Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow (1920-
Sir Hugh Worrell Springer (1913-
Sir Frank Leslie Walcott (1916-
Sir Garfield St. Aubyn Sobers (1936-
EDDY GRANT AND ICE RECORDS
Eddy Grant, one of the most powerful and controversial men in the Caribbean music business, lives in Barbados. He was born in Guyana. Grant emigrated to England, where he made it big as a reggae artiste rising to as far as No. 2 on the American Billboard charts. He later moved to Barbados where his work has been focused on calypso, soca and record production. He writes music, plays several the instruments, records his songs and those of many others, owns a record plant and does the marketing. His record label is Ice Records.
The studio of Ice Records, located in St. Philip, Barbados, has produced music for some of the Caribbean's top performers such as Trinidadians SuperBlue, Mighty Sparrow; Calypso Rose and Black stalin as well as Bajans Gabby, Grynner and Square One. Ice Records has also produced recordings for major world performers like Sting and Mick Jagger.
THE LANDSHIP OF BARBADOS
Have you ever heard of a navy that never goes to sea? Barbados has had one for over 100 years. It's referred to as a landship movement.
It has a fleet, commanded by an Admiral, and modeled after the British Navy. The "crew" dress and undergo training as in a professional navy. They also attend church services and parades with their corps of drums and they use the language of "Jack Tars."
Their ship is The Club House. It carries the prefix BLS -
In the cemetery of the parish of Christ Church in Barbados, a vault or crypt was constructed by a wealthy family, the Waldrons. The first interment to take place there was probably that of the body of the Honourable James Elliott in 1724. There was only a tombstone, but no coffin to substantiate this. It was empty in 1807, when Mrs. Thomasina Goddard was buried there in a wooden coffin.
Later the vault was taken over by the Chase family, the head of which was Colonel Thomas Chase. The first Chase buried there was little Mary Anna Maria, age 2, in a leaden coffin in February 1808. The next was Dorcas, Maria's older sister, in July 1812, also in a leaden coffin.
About a month later, Colonel Chase himself died and was placed in a coffin of wood which was then placed in a coffin of lead. When the vault was opened to place his coffin in it, something strange was evident. The leaden coffins previously laid there were disturbed, one of them turned upside down some distance from where it was placed. These were put in order again. And, as usual, the heavy marble slab that served as a door was sealed into place.
Four years later, in September 1816, when the vault was opened again to inter the body of Samuel Brewster Ames, age 11 months, the coffins already there were again found to be violently disturbed. They were put in order once more, and the vault sealed.
When just a month later, on November 17th, the body of Samuel Brewster was to be taken there, there was high interest. Word had gotten around about the mysterious occurrences, and those present were intent on seeing for themselves whether the strange happenings would continue. The Rector of Christ Church, the Reverend Mr. Thomas Orderson, a magistrate, and two other men were there to observe and investigate. The vault was found in chaos again. The men looked for any evidence of forced entry or a hidden passage. They checked for cracks everywhere. However, there was nothing to explain the happenings. The coffins were again restored to order and the door of the vault sealed with mortar.
Who or what could have been responsible for disturbing the caskets in the Chase vault? The people of Barbados discussed every possibility, putting slaves and even the duppies under scrutiny.
The next reopening of the vault took place in July 1819, following the death of Thomasina Clarke. On this occasion, the governor of Barbados, Sir Stapleton Cotton, Viscount Combermere, his aides, the commander of the garrison and several clergymen were present. When the marble door slab was removed, chaos was once more evident. A thorough examination of the entire area was again made. Every aspect was found to be rock solid. Again order was restored. The new body was put in place, and everyone waited while the floor was carefully covered with fine white sand. Diagrams were made of the inside arrangement, the heavy door slab was mortared into place, and the governor made several impressions in the wet mortar with his own seal.
The next opening of the vault took place on April 18th, 1820. The governor and his top aides together with the rector of the parish practically took over. After meticulously examining the externals and checking the impressions of the official seal previously placed there and finding everything in order, the vault was opened. Evidence of violent disturbance again greeted them. Coffins were again seemingly tossed into new locations and positions by some unexplained force. The vault was structurally sound and there was no trace of anyone or anything in the fine sand on the floor.
That was as much as Barbados could take. The bodies were all removed and buried separately elsewhere. The vault remains empty today, in Christ Church. The mystery, which has excited worldwide interest, continues unsolved.
One of the old folk beliefs in Barbados was that there were spirit beings whom they called "hags" (usually planters' wives), who shed their skins at night and traveled in the form of balls of fire in search of blood. If someone were to find the hag's skin and rub it with pepper and salt, the hag could not re-
In Guyana, a similar person is called the ol'’ higue.
The planters, embarrassed to see some of their "kith and kin" poor and almost destitute, made some attempts to better their lot. Among the schools established to help them get a good education were the Haynes Memorial School, Combermere School, the Alleyne School, Harrison's College and Boys' and Girls' Foundation Schools.
At the Young Men's Progressive Club, established in the 1920s, they were able to play cricket, soccer, and indoor games. They could also become involved in several cultural programs including attendance at lectures and participation in debates. Frank Collymore and Therold Barnes, both from poor white families, starting what came to be the oldest literary magazine in the Caribbean, Bim.
In many locations in Barbados, there are openings or pits in the ground called marl holes. These are small quarries where people have mined or removed coral stone (mainly calcium carbonate) in various stages of hardness.
Coral stone is sometimes removed in blocks and may be used for filling foundations of buildings and also in road building. Soft coral or marl, crushed and now in a powdered or granulated state with shells embedded in them, is often used to level off a piece of land around a house. It is cream-
People continue to use marl to maintain the appearance of the yard. At Christmastime, when it is desirable to have the yard look special, marl is placed around the house, especially around the front and back doors. It then has that “snowy white” and clean appearance that is regarded as just right for Christmas.
Barbadians who live near the beach would use sand instead of marl to spruce up the yard.
(Thanks to Barbadian architects Mark Hiorns and Michael Lashley for their contributions to this article)